Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

Happy Friday, Everyone. 3 Chics hopes you’ve enjoyed this week’s featured artist Norman Brown.

Let’s end the week with “Your Body’s Calling.”

Happy Second Anniversary on passage of the Health Care Bill – ACA AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. OBAMA CARES!

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40 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Why Repealing ObamaCare is Paul Ryan’s Holy Grail to Ending Medicare
    Thursday, March 22, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 3:30 PM

    For the past couple of days, I have been following the conversation about the Ryan budget, its breathtaking Path to Poverty agenda, and of course its active plan to end Medicare, masquerading as “reform.” Some have argued that Ryan’s new plan on Medicare is markedly improved from the one last year, and it “preserves” a Medicare guarantee by letting seniors choose to stay in the traditional Medicare program. But the fact, hiding in plain sight, is that the only difference between his last year’s plan and this year’s is that this year’s plan kills Medicare by starving and choking it off as opposed to last year’s plan simply decapitating it. Paul Ryan hasn’t ended his adventure to kill Medicare, he has simply changed his method from the electric chair to lethal injection. He does this by turning the Medicare system over to an wild insurance market deregulated by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

    Here’s Ryan’s plan, as described by Paul Ryan:

    Repeal the Affordable Care Act. [And with it, all the patient protections and insurance reforms.]
    Gradually increase Medicare eligibility age to 67 by 2034.
    In a “Medicare exchange,” those now 55 and younger will be able to choose the traditional Medicare plan or a private plan with “premium support” when they reach Medicare eligibility.
    Private plans would have to provide at least the actuarial value of traditional Medicare. Growth is limited to GDP (adjusted for inflation and population growth) plus 0.5%.
    The “premium support” would be risk adjusted – meaning that there would be some mechanism would be in place to discourage adverse selection. [But risk adjustment without guaranteed issue and community rating is essentially meaningless.]

    The first part – repealing the ACA – is the key to everything else that happens in the Ryan plan. It is the holy grail to killing Medicare.

    Paul Ryan and the GOP promise that first of all, people currently enrolled in Medicare have nothing to fear; nothing changes for them. The Ryan plan belies that promise. Repealing the ACA does have consequences with current retirees. “Obamacare” reduces Medicare Part D prescription drug prices. If it is repealed today, seniors on average can expect to pay $517 more each year in prescription drug costs right now. And if you are a senior that reaches the “donut hole”, Ryan’s plan will helpfully open the coverage gap back up for you, and will cost you an additional $16,000 over the next decade.

    Going beyond that, what else does repealing “ObamaCare” mean for Medicare beneficiaries? It means that insurance companies will be free to spend as little of the premium dollars on actually providing care as they wish. It means that they will be free to jack up their rates based on pre-existing conditions, including in this “Medicare exchange.” Wait a minute, you say. Isn’t there risk adjustment? Sure. Risk adjustment, however, only determines how premium support dollars are distributed, and does not directly regulate whether companies can pick off healthier people.

    For seniors especially, insurance companies are almost guaranteed to cherrypick healthier and younger seniors, despite the fact that they may get lower payments from Medicare for that. Why? Because they would rather have a smaller premium than get stuck with relatively much larger health care bills for older and sicker seniors.

    There is also absolutely nothing in the Ryan plan to prevent insurance companies, after they cherrypick these healthy seniors, from dropping them when they get sick and throwing them back into the traditional Medicare system. There is less than nothing, actually. By repealing the ACA, Ryan pro-actively gives insurance companies the right to do just that.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, March 22, 2012
    The invisible man as President

    Yesterday as I was reading what Leonard Pitts wrote about the killing of Trayvon Martin, I was struck by how his words on invisibility apply to President Obama.

    That’s one of the great frustrations of African American life, those times when you’re standing right there, minding your own business, tending your house, coming home from the store, and other people are looking right at you, yet do not see you.

    They see instead their own superstitions and suppositions, paranoia and guilt, night terrors and vulnerabilities. They see the perpetrator, the suspect, the mug shot, the dark and scary face that lurks at the open windows of their vivid imaginations. They see the unknown, the unassimilable, the other.

    They see everything in the world but you.

    It’s not hard to see in that description to roots of birtherism, President Obama as Kenyan socialist, and the attempts by Republicans to paint him as some radical out to steal our freedoms. Whether or not those who perpetuate these lies actually believe them or not is beside the point. What matters is that they find a comfortable “home” in the minds of too many Americans who have been conditioned for generations to see some kind of threat in every black face.

    But it’s not just wingers who too often succumb to this kind of invisibility of the man we elected President. Paul Glastris summed it up well in one sentence.

    In short, when judging Obama’s record so far, conservatives measure him against their fears, liberals against their hopes, and the rest of us against our pocketbooks.

    To me, this is where racism mixes with our authoritarian tendencies about wanting a “daddy” figure to fix all these problems and single-handedly make the world right. Just as the winger’s blindness about the actual man in the office can always be counted on to ignite fear, this one is bound to leave liberals in their comfort zone of defeatism and disappointment.

    In thinking about all this, I realized why the production of the video “The Road We’ve Traveled” was such an important opening salvo for the Obama campaign. That’s because it dealt with the reality of what the President faced as he took office and the very concrete things he’s accomplished. In other words, for those who watched it, the invisible was made visible. It dealt with the man we actually elected President and what he has done.

    The truth is – no one can be forced to see what they will not see. But lets be clear, it’s the fears/hopes that blind us to what this President…this flesh and blood man…has actually accomplished.

    Posted by Smartypants at 12:33 PM

  3. rikyrah says:

    uesday, March 20, 2012
    A “prick the skin” reminder
    I haven’t written yet about the killing of Trayvon Martin. The reason is that I can’t seem to begin to think about it without crying. The senseless shooting of that beautiful young boy is overwhelming. But it goes beyond that. Remember the quote I used last night?

    “I did my best to teach the master about slaves. Told him a hundred times when he was a boy that it wasn’t a black skin that made a man a slave. It’s the other skin, the one that grows on the outside, that second hide made of fear and obedience. What a good master does is every once in a while, prick that skin to remind folks that it’s still there and always will be. I told him that if a slave was to molt that outside skin, you no longer have a slave. ‘Mark my words,” I said, ‘when a man’s not afraid, then he’s hoping. And that’s when all hell breaks loose.'”

    The killing of that young boy is the “prick the skin” reminder to every African American boy – as well as his father/mother/brother/sister/aunt/uncle/grandmother/grandfather etc. – that the fear is very real. Whether that’s what Zimmerman intended or not is beside the point…its the reality that has been reinforced once again.

    What does it mean to raise an African American child in this country today? It means that once you get over the miriad of ways that the education, health and justice system are filled with inequities, you have to fear the idea of him getting shot while walking home from a trip to the convenience store. There’s only so much a parent can do to try to protect their child. So as a white person I try to imagine what its like to be a mother under those circumstances. And that’s when I know what a long road we have yet to travel when it comes to racism in this country. The particular bar I set is that we’ll know we got there when a mother of an African American boy can sleep soundly at night and leave the fear for her child behind. Until then, I’ll brook no talk about a “post-racial America.”

    Posted by Smartypants at 11:35 AM

  4. rikyrah says:

    Man On Fire
    Posted on 03/23/2012 at 6:30 pm by JM Ashby

    Even though he’s prone to gaffes, it’s hard not to love Joe Biden, especially when he displays the fire he showed today while speaking in Florida on the 2nd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

    …see the thing that I get angry about. They look at people like you and me and they think all we care about, after all you’ve done for the nation, is that all we care about is ourselves. After a lifetime, a lifetime, of you not only caring about yourselves but caring for all those people you love. Caring for your community. And they turn around and say, as long as we tell you ‘you won’t be cut’ you won’t mind if your children, you won’t mind if your grandchildren, you won’t mind if your younger neighbors and friends end up having to pay. They don’t understand us.

    Look, the cap they talk about, is the cap on what we ask of the wealthiest Americans, the top percentage of Americans, and what they pay to make this country work. And the balance they talk about is they balance the budget on the backs of seniors and middle class Americans. Why? So that they can preserve. This is not your father’s Republican party guys. So that they can preserve a trillion dollar tax-cut. A new trillion dollar tax-cut for the wealthiest Americans. And that’s not hyperbole folks. That is not hyperbole. That’s what this is about.

    Governor Romney supports Cut, Cap, and Balance, and which is yet another demonstration that there is no daylight between Governor Romney and Republican leaders on the most important issues facing this country. And not even Romney’s Etch A Sketch can change that. You’re not going to be able to do that. He may buy a new one, but he can’t do it.

    If you want to know why our national conversation is focused on birth control, ultrasounds, secret-Muslims, and religous liberty. This is why. Because they have no credible response to this.

    Their response is more tax cuts. Their response is to give less people healthcare.

    Their policies do not reflect the realities of living in America, because the only America they know is the one that exists in their heads. And the America that exists in their heads has been warped by a lifetime of privilege.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin case adds new terror for mothers of black sons


    As the mother of two sons (and a daughter), I’ve become accustomed to the warnings attendant to young African-American boys as they mature into men.

    Don’t talk back to police officers . . . for God’s sake, don’t run from them. Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, be prepared to enter a world that often views you with suspicion, and sometimes fear. Carry yourself respectably. Prove the prejudiced ones wrong.

    Sadly, too many black boys grow up afraid of police. The rare but legendary outrages like Arthur McDuffie or Rodney King loom large in the African-American memory, as do the more mundane, but often more painful, slights and personal contacts that breed resentment and mistrust.

    There has been too little relationship-building between even good police departments and predominantly black communities, breeding a divide that makes it harder to solve crimes, and making it tense or even dangerous for good officers to do even routine policing in some inner-city neighborhoods.

    We also teach our children to be wary of strangers. It’s a lesson that in modern times is impressed on both boys and girls. Too often, the lesson extends to adults much closer to home, to the sports field or even the church.

    But it is the stranger, lurking in the great unknown outside our door, that looms in the fearful imagination of mothers (and fathers too). And so we warn them: Don’t get into arguments; don’t fight over a girl. Don’t brag about the material things you have. Keep away from gangs. Stay off the streets at night.

    We want our children not to lose their childhoods to fear. We want to give them the freedom to roam, to be independent — to go to the corner store to buy iced tea and Skittles on their own.

    But we also pray not to lose our children, however remote the possibility.

    The killing of Trayvon Martin has introduced a new terror for the mothers of black boys to contemplate.

    How, after all, do you prepare your son to face the ordinary citizen, armed, not just with a gun, but also with a sense of entitlement and authority, and an attitude that they have the right to “protect” their world from you?

    With more and more citizens armed, and alienated, the ordinary prejudices that sadly still afflict our society can become deadly. And no one is more at risk in that world than black teenage boys who are the most followed, the most suspected and the most profiled people in American life.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Friday, March 23, 2012
    He is a Political Coprophagist: Black Conservative Larry Elder Defends the Murderer of Trayvon Martin

    Boss we be sick? Our house be burnin’ down massa!

    I am not at all surprised. Larry Elder is a professional slave catcher and white racism coprophagist. He and his black conservative kin are the upright walking, human, political versions of the sivit-like creature the Paradoxurus.

    Like the foodies who crave Kopi Luwak coffee (which is harvested from the poop of the Paradoxurus), white racial reactionaries love to pick through the feces of buck-dancing black conservatives so that they can pluck some leaves for a nice home brewed cup of racism denying tea.

    The murder of Trayvon Martin transcends race and ideology. It is a matter of common sense, ethics, and justice. However, the mighty dollar overrules all other considerations, for being a black conservative contrarian comes with a nice, big, fat, paycheck–and a taste of the psychic wages of whiteness.

    Larry Elder should be ashamed of himself. We know that he is not. And why should Elder experience any upset, anger, or outrage over the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman? Elder is a “special one” who has learned to transcend blackness by disavowing any sense of linked fate or destiny with other people of color.

  7. rikyrah says:

    the nominee to head the World Bank.


  8. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin and dangerous times for black men
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: March 22

    For every black man in America, from the millionaire in the corner office to the mechanic in the local garage, the Trayvon Martin tragedy is personal. It could have been me or one of my sons. It could have been any of us.

    How many George Zimmermans are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy fingers on the triggers of loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians of the peace who say the words “black male” with a sneer?
    We don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., that ended with an unarmed 17-year-old high school student being shot dead. But we know enough to conclude that this is an old, familiar story.

    We know from tapes of Zimmerman’s 911 call that he initiated the encounter, having decided that Martin’s presence in the neighborhood was suspicious. We know that when Zimmerman told the 911 operator that he was following Martin, the operator responded, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.” We know that Zimmerman kept following Martin anyway.

    “This guy looks like he is up to no good,” Zimmerman said on the 911 tape.

    Please tell me, what would be the innocent way to walk down the street with an iced tea and some Skittles? Hint: For black men, that’s a trick question.

    Black America was never a monolith, but over the past five decades it has become much more diverse — economically, socially, culturally. If you stood on a street corner and chose five black men at random, you might meet a doctor who lives in the high-priced suburbs, an immigrant from Ethiopia who drives a cab, a young aspiring filmmaker with flowing dreadlocks, an unemployed dropout trying to hustle his next meal and a midlevel government worker struggling to put his kids through college.

    Those men would have nothing in common, really, except one thing: For each of them, walking down the wrong street at the wrong time could be a fatal mistake.

    I hear from people who contend that racism no longer exists in this country. I tell them I wish they were right.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Fri Mar 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM PDT
    Republican Governors Association ponying up big to protect Scott Walker +*

    by Joan McCarter

    That ad will soon be playing out across Wisconsin, blanketing the airwaves, brought to the state courtesy of the Republican Governors Association.

    The RGA definitely wants to keep Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker around. The organization, which spent more than $5 million getting him elected in 2010, wants to protect their investment in the upcoming recall election.

    The Republican Governors Association will begin airing an ad today that attacks the two leading Democratic candidates vying to replace Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s recall election. A 30-second spot uses an elevator as a metaphor to define former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and former Dane County Executive (aka “Madison liberal”) Kathleen Falk as tax-and-spenders who killed jobs. They’re not publicly disclosing the buy size, but the RGA says its substantial and they don’t screw around. […] [T]he RGA will be the first to begin the “real” phase of the campaign – defining the incumbent’s potential opponents.

    These are the big guns coming out to defend Walker. It’s going to take an extremely united and motivated grassroots to beat them.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The President’s Favorables among women:

    And PPP isn’t the only outfit showing this kind of gap. Pew found a similar-sized gap:

    Barack Obama’s lead over [Mitt] Romney is attributable in large part to his wide advantage among women, younger voters, and nonwhites. Women favor Obama over Romney by 20 points – virtually unchanged from a month ago – while men are divided almost evenly (49% Obama, 46% Romney). This gender gap is particularly wide among voters under age 50. Women ages 18-49 favor Obama over Romney by nearly two-to-one (64% to 33%), while men the same age are split (50% Obama, 46% Romney).

  11. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Nomination Was Rigged

    by BooMan
    Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 09:43:22 AM EST
    If the Republican nominating contest were truly over, would Rick Santorum be cruising towards a big victory in Louisiana this Saturday? The truth is that Mitt Romney hasn’t wrapped anything up, but the cable networks don’t think there is any more money to be made by covering the primaries. Howard Kurtz puts it this way:

    Television, in short, has pretty much decided the race is over, Mitt Romney has won, the thing is boring everyone to death, and it’s time, at least for now, to move on. The campaign is occupying less front-page real estate in the major papers as well.

    What happened?

    The end of the debates is a major factor. They were produced by the networks and functioned as a kind of continuous reality show, from Rick Perry’s “oops” moment to Newt Gingrich beating up on John King. Now they’re history.

    Romney’s delegate lead has also drained the contest of drama. At this point, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can only stop him from reaching the magic 1,144, not win the nomination themselves. And while it’s possible we’re heading for a brokered convention in August, the chatter about that possibility is an insider’s conversation, fascinating mainly to the junkies.

    It’s ironic that the media has decided the contest is over because it is no longer lucrative. The reality is a little different. Rick Santorum never expected to get so much traction and he didn’t plan for being competitive this late in the race. The Pennsylvania newspapers are mocking Santorum for his lack of preparation, reporting that even if he wins his home state next month that he will not receive the majority of its delegates. He had similar problems in Ohio and Illinois, and he wasn’t even on the ballot in Virginia.

    These failings are making it highly likely that Romney will get the majority of the delegates even if he loses many of the remaining contests. But that doesn’t mean that Romney would win the nomination in a balanced fight.

    The story of these primaries has been about how Romney could not persevere against joke candidates like Hermann Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. But the truth is that he couldn’t not persevere. He was the only one with the money and organization to compete in 50 states. Rick Perry might have given him a run for his money, but he turned out to be a complete simpleton. This hasn’t been a true contest; it’s been a dishonest show. From the falsely reported Romney win in Iowa to the gaming of the caucuses in Maine to the uncontested race in Virginia to the lack of delegates for Santorum in Ohio and Illinois, the people’s choices have not been tabulated correctly or honored.

    And, in spite of all this rigging of the system, Romney still hasn’t wrapped this thing up mathematically. If the media wants something interesting to report, they should report on how the Republican establishment has been playing their base for fools with a fake reality show.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Nice Choice for the World Bank

    by BooMan
    Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 12:34:57 PM EST
    Remember when George W. Bush rewarded Paul Wolfowitz for his prescience on Iraq by naming him to head the World Bank? Yeah, that was awesome. And remember when, after Wolfowitz proved to be a total disaster and massive embarrassment, Bush appointed a managing director of Goldman Sachs to be his replacement? Yeah, that was super-awesome. Because who cares about global poverty more than Goldman Sachs, right?

    This time is going to be different:

    President Obama on Friday nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, a physician and anthropologist by training, to succeed Robert Zoellick as the next president of the World Bank.

    The naming of Kim was seen as a surprise. Kim, 52, though highly regarded for his leadership in global health issues, is not well known in political or financial circles. But the appointment of the South Korean-born Kim may also deflect criticisms from developing economies of the United States having a lock on the World Bank’s top position.

    Kim, president of Dartmouth since 2009, was the former director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/Aids department.

    Even the loathsome Fred Hiatt is impressed.

    The mission of the World Bank is to help lift people out of poverty, and Kim will be the first bank leader who has dedicated most of his professional life to working with and for the world’s poor.

    With another pioneering physician-anthropologist, Dr. Paul Farmer, Kim established an organization dedicated to treating poor people in Haiti, Peru, Rwanda and beyond. The founding principle of Partners in Health was that everyone is entitled to first-class health care, no matter where they live or how poor they are.

    The significance of Partners was that it didn’t just declare that as a principle: Farmer and Kim proved, in the face of many doubters and over the course of many years of hard work, that first-class health care can be delivered, respectfully, in the poorest precincts of the poorest countries…

    …Past World Bank presidents have included many eminent men, beginning in 1946 with a former publisher of this newspaper, Eugene Meyer. There have been politicians (Barber Conable), defense strategists (Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz), lawyer-diplomats (John J. McCloy and the incumbent, Robert Zoellick) and a half-dozen bankers.

    Most of them, however brilliant they were, had to learn on the job about the challenges of poverty and development. That won’t be a problem for Kim.

    It seems to me that the guy is really well-qualified to run a World Bank that actually does what the World Bank is supposed to do. And I guess that was the president’s priority, too, since he passed over people like Larry Summers and John Kerry to make this choice.

    He still has to be confirmed to the position by the board, but I doubt he’ll have a problem. I expect this choice will eliminate a lot of the grumbling in the developing world about America’s lock on choosing the president. It works on every level, from Kim being Korean-born to his work experience and focus.

    Let’s hope he sets a new course and doesn’t become just another bloodsucker.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Found this in the comments section at Ta-Nehisi Coates:


    “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

    This comment is stunning in its simplicity and power, and shows a tremendous amount of awareness and empathy, something that has been sorely lacking in public discourse, especially this election season. In one sentence, his words humanize this young victim, previously relegated by some as a faceless, hoodied enemy. What a beautiful thing it is for us to have a President who seeks to emphasize connections and common ground in such contentious circumstances, instead of focusing on what separates us and makes us different. It is easy and part of human nature to create a foe, the Other. It takes wisdom and courage, especially for a politician, to conjure up our better angels.

    I doubt in my lifetime we will ever have such an evolved man/woman as President. It has been one of my sadder realizations over the past 4 years, that many in this country will never recognize or appreciate the gift we have been blessed with in this President, and in fact, they despise him, and project the most vile fear and hatred onto him. People whom I know do this, some of my loved ones, and it is heartbreaking.

  14. rikyrah says:

    that muthafucka Geraldo Rivera can kiss my ENTIRE BLACK ASS

  15. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin Updates

    First, Sanford police chief Bill Lee is done–for now.

    Second, here is an absolutely disgusting clip from Geraldo Rivera, who essentially blames Trayvon Martin’s death on the fact that he was wearing a hoodie. In the rain:

    It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you’re gonna be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace.

    That’s what happens. It is an instant reflexive action. Remember Juan Williams, our colleague? Our brilliant colleague? He got in trouble with NPR because he said Muslims in formal garb at the airport conjure a certain reaction in him or response in him? That’s an automatic reflex. Juan wasn’t defending it. He was explaining that that’s what happens when he sees these particular people in that particular place.

    When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin’s you know, god bless him, he’s an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand. He didn’t deserve to die. But I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that — that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.

    As someone said on twitter, this is, essentially, the “what you were wearing” rapist’s defense. That really is about the best you can say. Again, the personal callousness is striking.

    Finally, I was on PBS Newshour last night. Video here.

    MORE: Obama offers a brief comment.

    Video up top. Stunning. Pitch perfect. No idea how it’ll play. Don’t care right now. Maybe I’ll care later. But for now, I just felt it was a stunning exercise in political minimalism. That’s a compliment.

    • Ametia says:

      JERKRALDO IS A TOM. He had the nerve to invoke his son’s name and use him as an example to make the case for this fuckery. God, deliver us from this madness!

  16. Ametia says:

    The case of Trayvon Martin has captured the attention of the nation, as the Miami Heat players came together and put their hoodies up for Trayvon.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Romney should read Paul Ryan’s budget plan
    By Steve Benen

    Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

    Mitt Romney’s allergy to honesty has come into sharper focus this week, but even by his standards, the comments Romney made on a Wisconsin radio show this morning were astounding.

    Romney said the plan introduced by House Budget Committee chairman Ryan (R-Janesville) “does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the elderly … It instead preserves Medicare and preserves Social Security.”

    Look, this really isn’t complicated. Paul Ryan’s budget plan is simply brutal towards the poor and working families. Romney doesn’t have to like it, but he really shouldn’t lie about it.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would get at least 62 percent of its $5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts over ten years (relative to a continuation of current policies) from programs that serve people of limited means. This stands a core principle of President Obama’s fiscal commission on its head and violates basic principles of fairness.

    While giving a massive tax break to the wealthy, the Ryan budget plan Romney is so fond of slashes funding for Medicaid, food stamps, and other for low-income programs, nearly all of which Ryan’s plan would eliminate over the next couple of decades.

    As the CBPP’s Robert Greenstein put it, “[T]he Ryan budget would impose extraordinary cuts in programs that serve as a lifeline for our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, and over time would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance or become underinsured.” He added that Ryan’s plan “would cast tens of millions of less fortunate Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure.”

    If this doesn’t “balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” for crying out loud, what exactly would such a budget plan look like?

    As for “preserving” Medicare, the Ryan plan that Romney supports would turn Medicare into a voucher program, scrapping the guaranteed benefit altogether; weaken Medicare solvency; and bring back the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut-hole.”

    So, what are we to make of Romney’s comments this morning? He’s either lying or he hasn’t read the budget plan he’s endorsed. It’s one or the other.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Cantor’s faith in Stearns
    By Steve Benen

    Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:08 PM EDT

    Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) of Florida hasn’t exactly inspired confidence in his professional abilities lately. The Republican lawmaker recently raised the specter of impeaching President Obama over a citizenship conspiracy theory, and when pressed, added that he believes the president’s birth certificate may not be legitimate.

    This would be less disconcerting if Stearns were some random media personality or right-wing blogger, saying foolish things in public for attention, but he’s actually a 12-term congressman and the chairman of a House committee panel on oversight and investigations.

    Does the House Republican leadership have any concerns about Stearns’ bizarre rhetoric? Apparently not.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he has “full confidence” in Rep. Ciff Stearns (R-Fla.), the GOP’s point person in the Solyndra probe, despite Stearns’ recent remark that he’s not certain whether President Obama’s birth certificate is legitimate.

    “I think Cliff Stearns does a good job with the chairmanship of his subcommittee,” Cantor told The Hill in the Capitol Wednesday. “He has my full confidence.”

    Cantor was responding to a question about whether it’s appropriate to have someone who has questioned Obama’s birth certificate leading a probe of the White House…. Stearns heads the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which is part of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

    This isn’t especially surprising — Cantor is not in the habit of criticizing Republicans — but I’m curious: what exactly would Stearns have to do to lose Cantor’s confidence? Question the legitimacy of the moon landing? Hunt for Bigfoot? Engage in a debate over whether unicorns and the tooth fairy are real?

  19. rikyrah says:

    Team Obama embraces ‘Obamacare’ label
    By Steve Benen

    Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:24 PM EDT

    When President Obama signed his landmark health care reform measure into law two years ago today, there was no shortage of debate surrounding the package, and not all of it was policy focused. For example, what were we supposed to call it?

    These major pillars of American public life need good names. We all know what Social Security is. We all know what Medicare is. But the health care reform law’s given name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — didn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and PPACA was unwieldy.

    Following Matt Yglesias’ lead, I always liked the “Affordable Care Act,” or “ACA,” while the right went with “Obamacare.” I was never fond of that name — the health care law, it seemed to me, was about us and our ability to seek quality care we can afford, not about the president — and it’s not like anyone was running around referring to Medicare as Johnsoncare or Social Security as FDR Security.

    But it was hard not to notice the ubiquity of the “Obamacare” label, and in an interesting move, the president’s re-election team has decided to embrace it with both arms. David Axelrod sent an email to supporters this afternoon with a subject line that read, “I like Obamacare.” The letter said:

    I like Obamacare. I’m proud of it — and you should be, too.

    Here’s why: Because it works. So if you’re with me, say it: “I like Obamacare.”

    Obamacare means never having to worry about getting sick and running up against a lifetime cap on insurance coverage. It gives parents the comfort of knowing their kids can stay on their insurance until they’re 26, and that a “pre-existing condition” like an ear infection will never compromise their child’s coverage.

    It’s about ending the practice of letting insurance companies charge women 50 percent more — just because they’re women.

    And Obamacare can save seniors hundreds of dollars a year on prescription drugs — and gives them access to preventive care that is saving their lives.

    The email also refers supporters to a new “I Like Obamacare” website.

    This doesn’t completely come out of nowhere. Back in October, the president told an audience, “They call it Obamacare. I do care, that’s right. The question is, why don’t you care?”

    But this new, unambiguous embrace of the name Republicans have used derisively for years is something neither the White House nor the president’s campaign team has done before.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 03/23/2012
    Obama’s pick for World Bank chief shows that elections have consequences
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Elections have consequences. And parties matter.

    That’s my quick conclusion from the announcement by Barack Obama that poverty expert Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of Dartmouth, will be his selection to head the World Bank.

    As Daniel Drezner says, this is truly an “out of the box” selection. Here’s Fred Hiatt, who calls this an “inspired” pick:

    Kim’s appointment to head the Bank is pioneering…The mission of the World Bank is to help lift people out of poverty, and Kim will be the first bank leader who has dedicated most of his professional life to working with and for the world’s poor…

    Past World Bank presidents have included many eminent men…Most of them, however brilliant they were, had to learn on the job about the challenges of poverty and development. That won’t be a problem for Kim.

    It’s very difficult for me to imagine John McCain, had he won the presidency — or a President Mitt Romney, for that matter — reaching out beyond the usual bankers and recycled government officials to choose someone like Kim. But it’s not at all hard to picture Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Chris Dodd picking him.

    Presidents don’t make these types of picks on their own. They select them from a list (perhaps in some cases a very short list) that is generated for them by White House and agency staff. And the truth is that Clinton or Biden or Dodd would have either had the same people to turn to, or very similar people, and those people would have generated similar short lists — but McCain or Romney, would have had an entirely different set of advisors, and thus a very different short list.

    It’s unlikely that very many of the people who volunteered on phone banks and went door to door for Obama in 2008 were thinking about the future head of the World Bank. But it’s probably safe to say that most of them will be pleased to see an expert on global poverty take over an organization that can really do something about it. It’s decisions like these that remind us why elections matter.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Meet the Obama Official Investigating the Trayvon Martin Shooting
    Tom Perez, the Justice Department’s top civil rights lawyer, has investigated hate crimes and police abuses for years. Now he faces one of his biggest

    On Tuesday, city officials from Sanford, Florida, trekked to Washington for a meeting on Capitol Hill with a group of black lawmakers and officials of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. The topic at hand: The recently announced investigation of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in late February by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, while walking back to his father’s house in a gated community from a local convenience store.

    Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplet told the group he’d spent the last few days listening repeatedly to the recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call, according to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who was present at the meeting. After the shooting, Zimmerman told the police that Martin had attacked him and he had acted in self-defense. Apparently believing his version of events, the Sanford police did not arrest him. But the 911 tape suggested that Zimmerman had pursued Martin, even though he had been warned against doing so by the 911 dispatcher.

    When Hastings suggested that Zimmerman might have uttered a racial slur on the call, Triplet pulled a copy of the recording out of a folder and passed it to the DOJ’s assistant attorney general for civil rights, Thomas Perez. Sanford’s city manager, Norton Bonaparte, implored Perez to probe the conduct of the Sanford police.

    The inquiry being conducted by Perez’s division and the FBI is focused on the actual shooting, in part to determine whether it was a hate crime. But as questions continue to emerge about the Sanford police department’s handling of this and other racially-charged cases, civil rights leaders have urged the feds to broaden the inquiry to include a civil investigation into possible police wrongdoing. And this is an area Perez knows well. During his two-year tenure at the civil rights division, he has quietly led a federal crusade against police misconduct, pursuing 19 investigations of local police departments—the most in the division’s history.

    “During the Bush administration [police misconduct] was not a high priority,” says Richard Jerome, a former Justice Department attorney who now runs the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Center on the States. “There certainly were not only fewer cases but the end result of the cases were different.”

    Using its authority to compel institutional changes in local law enforcement agencies that have engaged in systemic violations of Americans’ constitutional rights, Perez’s office has helped to overhaul the police department of Puerto Rico and New Orleans police force. (New Orleans police officers shot several civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) It has scrutinized the Miami and Seattle police departments and exposed the civil rights abuses of Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Mar 23, 2012 4:08pm
    Hoodies on the Hill: Congressional Staffers Rally for Trayvon Martin

    A group of Capitol Hill staffers gathered today on the U.S. Capitol steps to rally in support of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed boy gunned down in Sanford, Fla.

    About 250 to 300 aides rallied this afternoon in support of “Hoodies on the Hill.” Participants were encouraged to wear hooded sweatshirts in the 80 degree heat and to bring Skittles candy and iced tea, two items Martin was carrying when he was killed by a 28-year-old man as he walked back to his father’s girlfriend’s house.

    “We have a mandate to ensure that young boys like Trayvon live their lives and that they’re successful and that they have the opportunity we have today,” said Brandon Andrews, a congressional staffer who said he was representing African American men on the Hill.

    Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a retired commander in the Navy, led the group in prayer, invoking Martin Luther King, Jr. and telling the crowd of his own experiences with racial stereotyping.

    “I don’t have my hoodie, but I do have my skittles,” Black said, dressed characteristically in a white shirt and bowtie. “This is a great tragedy and I guess one of the positive aspects of this is it has awakened in so many, across all racial lines and awareness, that we need to do more to ’cause justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”

    “The death of Trayvron diminishes us,” he continued. “We need healing in our land today. So if we would seek humility, if we would harness prayer power, if we would turn from evil, God has promised, ‘I will hear from Heaven, forgive your sins and heal your land.’ I think that that is the least we can do.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    McDonald’s Hires First African-American CEO

    Don Thompson, a 22-year McDonald’s veteran, will take over in June.
    By Danielle Wright
    Posted: 03/22/2012 12:40 PM EDT

    For the first time ever, McDonald’s Corp. has appointed an African-American CEO.

    Don Thompson, a 22-year McDonald’s veteran, will take over in June. He will replace current CEO Jim Skinner, who is retiring after 41 years with the company.

    “I’m honored by the Board’s election,” said Thompson. “Jim has been an outstanding leader, mentor and friend. I’m humbled to take the baton as CEO of McDonald’s. Our management team is strong and will remain focused on the Plan to Win and on our three global priorities — optimizing the menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening our accessibility to even more customers.”

    Thompson, 48, has served as president and chief operating officer of the company since January 2010. He is currently responsible for global strategy and operations for the more than 33,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 119 countries.

    “As we look to the future, the Board has every confidence that Don’s strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO,” Andy McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s Board of Directors said.

    Skinner, who officially leaves June 30, has been credited with turning the fast food giant around. Six months prior to his appointment, the company’s stock had steadily lost ground. Since taking office, however, McDonald’s stock price quadrupled, climbing at an annual pace of 21 percent.

    Incumbent CEO Thompson will face challenges, including the economic turmoil in Europe, McDonald’s largest market by revenue, and rising costs for ingredients and labor.

    Good luck and congratulations Don Thompson!

  24. Ametia says:

    Jim Yong Kim, Dartmouth College president, tapped by Obama to head World Bank
    By Howard Schneider and Zachary Goldfarb,
    Updated: Friday, March 23, 10:25 AM

    President Obama on Friday nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a move that would turn the organization over to a physician and development expert as opposed to the bankers, corporate leaders and political officials who have run it since its founding.

    At a morning Rose Garden ceremony, Obama said Kim was the right person to lead the bank, a source of development aid and loans for both poor and developing countries, when current President Robert Zoellick leaves office in June.

  25. Ametia says:

    Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and could face the death penalty, the U.S. military says.

    He also faces six counts of assault and attempted murder. Bales, 38, stands accused of leaving a remote outpost in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province on March 11 and going on a deadly house-to-house rampage, gunning down civilians.

    He was returned to the United States last week and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

  26. Ametia says:

    11:17 AM EST
    At Gun Range, Santorum Aims At Target And Is Urged To “Pretend It’s Obama”

    Rick Santorum was at a gun range in Lousiana Friday in advance of Saturday’s primaries, which he is expected to win. Politico’s Juana Summers was with Santorum reported on an odd attempt at a joke.

    She tweeted:

    Santorum is shooting a 1911 Colt. Range master says “Well, it’s not your first rodeo.”. Someone here says “pretend its Obama.”

    As Santorum had headphones on and was standing far from supporters, he likely didn’t hear woman say “pretend its Obama” as he shot.

    NBC’s Andrew Rafferty, also reported it was unlikely Santorum heard the line. He tweeted:

    Woman watching Santorum at shooting range in LA yells “Pretend it’s Obama” (there is 0 chance Santorum heard it)

  27. Ametia says:

    The GOP Nomination Was Rigged

    by BooMan
    Fri Mar 23rd, 2012 at 09:43:22 AM EST

    If the Republican nominating contest were truly over, would Rick Santorum be cruising towards a big victory in Louisiana this Saturday? The truth is that Mitt Romney hasn’t wrapped anything up, but the cable networks don’t think there is any more money to be made by covering the primaries. Howard Kurtz puts it this way:

    Television, in short, has pretty much decided the race is over, Mitt Romney has won, the thing is boring everyone to death, and it’s time, at least for now, to move on. The campaign is occupying less front-page real estate in the major papers as well.
    What happened?

    The end of the debates is a major factor. They were produced by the networks and functioned as a kind of continuous reality show, from Rick Perry’s “oops” moment to Newt Gingrich beating up on John King. Now they’re history.

    Romney’s delegate lead has also drained the contest of drama. At this point, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can only stop him from reaching the magic 1,144, not win the nomination themselves. And while it’s possible we’re heading for a brokered convention in August, the chatter about that possibility is an insider’s conversation, fascinating mainly to the junkies.

  28. Ametia says:


  29. Ametia says:

    Liberian Writer Mae Azango Forced Into Hiding for Story on Female Genital Cutting
    by Danielle ShapiroMar 23, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    Ever since she published a front-page story about female genital cutting within a secret society of women, the Liberian journalist Mae Azango has lived in fear, and threats have sent her into hiding—but she says she will continue to speak out.

    Read the rest here:

  30. dannie22 says:

    good morning

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